By Steven Chan
1. “The heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life, the center of man’s inward life, and contains ‘the hidden man'(1 Pet 3:4)” (Vine’s Dictionary)
According to Prov 23:7, the thoughts of our hearts shapes who we are. We are what we think about in our hearts. That’s the power of our thoughts. We must take care of what we think about.
2. God who searches our hearts knows the secrets of our hearts (Psa 44:21; Heb 4:12-13). So, the Psalmist wrote in Psa 19:14: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” What do we meditate or think deeply about in our hearts? Do we think of whether our thoughts acceptable to God?
3. Do we purpose in our hearts to have God’s Word in our hearts so that we can do the will of God and be guided by His wisdom? The Psalmist prayed to God in Psa 40:8: “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” So, the Psalmist says in Psa37:31: “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.”
4. Is our heart humble and penitent in submission to God’s will? Or is it hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:12-13)? The Bible warns that our prayers will not be heard by God if we think sinful thoughts in our hearts: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear” (Psa 66:18)
On the other hand, God will not despise a broken and contrite heart (Psa 51:17). Psa 34:18:” The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
5. The Psalmist lamented the thoughts of those who do not fear God: –
“For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; he blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. 4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. 5 His ways are always prospering; your judgments are far above, out of his sight; as for all his enemies, he sneers at them. 6 He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity” … He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten;
He hides His face; He will never see.” … He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.”
The truth as stated in Rom 14:10-12 is that all men will have to give an account of our lives: “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? 10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jer 17:9-10).
We will do well to take care of our hearts: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Prov 4:23). “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Heb 3:12)
Giving up one’s life
By Lydia Teh
Dying for strangers
In early July the world watched with tenterhooks an extremely difficult and dangerous cave rescue mission. A team of 12 boys and their coach had been trapped in the complex ThamLuang Cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand for more than two weeks before the rescue operation was successfully executed.
However, there was one casualty. Saman Kunan, a former Thai navy Seal, lost his life while carrying oxygen tanks into the caves. He was one of nearly 100 volunteer divers who plunged into the mission despite not knowing the lost boys.
Dying for a friend
American author and priest, Brennan Manning wrote about his strong friendship with another soldier, Ray when they were enlisted in the Korean War. He described one night in 1952 when they were both huddled in the bunkers not far from the enemy lines:
“We were passing a chocolate bar back and forth. Ray took the last bite when a grenade lobbed by an undetected North Korean landed squarely in the centre of the bunker. Ray was the first one to spot it. Almost nonchalantly he flipped the candy wrapper aside and fell on the grenade. It detonated instantly. His stomach smothered the explosion. I was completely unharmed, untouched. He looked up at me, winked, and rolled over dead.”
Wow. That was literally John 15:13 in action: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Dying for you and me
About 2,000 years ago, Christ came to earth as a man so he could teach and save the lost. He knew what lay ahead of him – the persecution and rejection from His people and an excruciating death on the cross. But He was obedient to God the Father till the very end.
“O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done,” Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:42).
Before Christ was crucified, he was scourged, then forced to carry His cross to Golgotha. He further endured six hours of agonising pain on the cross before giving up His spirit.
Do we take His death lightly or are we so profoundly moved that we take up our cross daily and follow Him?
“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” Lk 9:23-25.